Infamous erotica author and accomplished dominatrix Nora Sutherlin is doing something utterly out of character: hiding. While her longtime lover, Søren—whose fetishes, if exposed, would be his ruin—is under scrutiny pending a major promotion, Nora’s lying low and away from temptation in the lap of luxury.
Her host, the wealthy and uninhibited Griffin Fiske, is thrilled to have Nora stay at his country estate, especially once he meets her traveling companion. Young, inexperienced and angelically beautiful, Michael has become Nora’s protégé, and this summer with Griffin is going to be his training, where the hazing never ends.
But while her flesh is willing, Nora’s mind is wandering. To thoughts of Søren, her master, under investigation by a journalist with an ax to grind. And to another man from Nora’s past, whose hold on her is less bruising, but whose secrets are no less painful. It’s a summer that will prove the old adage: love hurts.
Very good, but not as amazing as the first.
Soren is receiving some unwelcome attention so he sends Nora and Michael, a young troubled hottie, upstate to get away from prying eyes. (Guildford… Guilderland and Waterford, maybe? My brain says it must be so.) They stay with Griffin, a hunky trust fund baby and sparks fly, etc.
Suzanne is an investigative reporter who hones in on Soren in more ways than one. While I dug her plotline at first it soon became a vehicle for backstory and little more.
While the The Siren was driven by Nora’s struggle figuring out whose love she wanted The Angel is on more solid ground. Reisz uses the opportunity to indulge in flashback after flashback.
I’m not sure what I think about them. I’m glad Reisz went the ‘show, don’t tell’ route, and extra thankful she didn’t set off the flashbacks with italics or some other annoying typography. Bonus points for letting a character drift into memory and come back without someone saying, “Hello, are you listening?!” But there were a lot of them, enough that I groaned when I saw another coming.
As in Reisz’s previous work she brings up a lot of questions to mull over. Is a numerical age of consent really the best way to go, or should the person’s psychological state and well being also be taken into account? When a priest as confessor knows of a crime should he report it? How about when the confessee isn’t Catholic? How can broken families, namely those with a crazy father figure, be saved? We see two possibilities and neither is warm and fuzzy.
The thing that struck me most upon finishing is that we have a happy ending here. Not a happy ending tinged with heartache, but an honest to goodness guy gets girl (or guy) and life trajectories move towards the good. It left me disappointed. Happiness is good, of course, but I enjoy a good heart wrenching and Reisz knows how to deliver in that department. I was hoping for a little more bittersweet.
Solid character development will keep me coming back every time, so on to book three it is.